Battlefield is one of the grand old dames of the online shooter scene – it’s been wowing fans with its huge-scale battles and adrenaline-pumping blend of vehicular and infantry combat for years and years now.
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It’s also jumped happily around into different time settings, from its origins in the Second World War, back to the First World War, and of course into both modern combat scenarios and even futuristic science fiction. Now we know that the next game will be Battlefield 2042, taking us to another new setting. Find out all the key information right here.
Battlefield 2042 release date and trailer
After months of speculation, it’s all become clear at last – we finally have a release date for Battlefield 2042: October 22, 2021, which is actually a few weeks earlier than we were hoping, which is always welcome news.
We’ve known for ages that the game was heading toward a holiday 2021 release date, thanks to repeated confirmations from EA, but this is now concrete, so you’ve only got a little while to wait before you can drop into the biggest Battlefield game yet.
That’s all thanks to the full reveal trailer, which you can see above, and which took the wraps off the game for the first time, bringing to an end the absolutely huge amount of speculation that had preceded it. Without going overboard, it’s an unbelievably impressive first showing, and makes the next game look like it could be an absolutely stellar entry in the franchise, especially paired with the gameplay trailer that you can find below.
Battlefield 2042 setting and gameplay
With each Battlefield game comes a key question – when and where is it set? Given that previous entries have had seriously diverse settings, a lot is up in the air on this front. With Battlefield 1 and Battlefield V, DICE went back to both World Wars to explore an earlier form of combat, but the likes of Battlefield 3 and 4 showed years ago that it can excel at modern combat scenarios, too.
Now we know that the new game is set in 2042 during a major conflict between the USA and Russia (which you can find out more about using Dice’s official timeline), echoing Battlefield’s original 1942 setting, and the 2142 timeline it visited previously as well. That near-future setting means that much of the weaponry and vehicles on show will be fairly familiar.
However, there are still plenty of futuristic touches, including plenty of drones, robotic dogs, and more besides, so it should make for a nice mixture of new and old. We also know that the game will support 128-player servers, which should make for serious carnage, although only on newer hardware.
The biggest modes, which support that 128-player count, will also be playable with AI opponents and team-mates, which could make for a useful environment for players to get to grips with the game. EA has confirmed that it’ll use these bots to fill out games, but that human players will be able to join to replace them without waiting.
EA has also said that the game will have unprecedented scale on the destructibility side (which is hard to believe in comparison to the high watermark of Bad Company 2), building on the “Levolution” events from Battlefield 4 involving moments such as the collapse of a huge skyscraper to change the map.
There will be seven maps initially, and you can find out about them each on the official website, but we’re impressed by the visual variety they bring to the table.
Also coming for big changes is the class system, which looks like it’s getting overhauled and replaced by Specialists, effectively unique operators with abilities like revives and resupplies that can augment your strategy in similar ways, but with more character. How this works in practise will doubtless be a key part of Dice’s subsequent gameplay demonstrations, as it does sound like a bit of a departure.
At launch there will be 10 specialists to choose from, but that’ll expand through a seasonal content plan that will also bring a battle pass system – no surprise in the modern gaming market. These seasons will run for 3 months each, and it seems EA would hope for the playerbase to gobble them up for at least a few years.
Battlefied 2042 singleplayer campaign
Something we can also clear up, and another big question when it comes to any Battlefield game, surrounds the game’s campaign – namely, whether it will have one at all. Older Battlefield titles were pure multiplayer affairs, but in the era of its rivalry with Call of Duty flowering, campaigns became a standard part of the package.
In recent games, DICE stepped away from full-length campaigns in favour of a series of shorter vignettes, which worked really impressively and told interesting stories. Now, though, the singleplayer side of things has been cut altogether, so there won’t be anything apart from multiplayer to dig into.
Battlefied 2042 battle royale?
Battlefield V’s battle royale mode, Firestorm, was beset by both delays and the burden of not being free to pay, and while it was a really fun option, it’s almost completely dead now, with few players and long matchmaking times.
However, the genre is just as popular as ever, and the huge success of Call of Duty: Warzone has likely given Dice and EA a template to follow – a free-to-play battle royale attached to a premium multiplayer offering.
However, there’s nothing coming on that front for at least a while – there will be no battle royale mode when the new game launches. There are rumours of a longer-term plan for Battlefield 2042, with a new mode coming sometime in 2022, but no proof of that as yet.
Battlefield 2042 platforms
Interestingly, at a time like this with the next generation of consoles finally on the market the question of which platforms something like Battlefield 2042 will support doesn’t so much concern the new consoles, but the older ones.
DICE has confirmed that it’s been making the next Battlefield game with next-gen in mind, which is obvious from the fact that both the PS5 and Xbox Series X are out in the wild. However, for a long time there was radio silence on what this meant for older boxes.
Now, very unsurprisingly, EA has confirmed that the game will be coming to the PS4 and Xbox One as well, ensuring that the millions of players who haven’t got onto the next-gen bandwagon (or haven’t managed to) aren’t left behind.
However, there will be significant differences between the versions of the game across generations, with older generation consoles limited to 64 players on their servers, in particular. The maps will also be correspondingly smaller, to make sure you don’t have acres of space to run about to find a fight.
We know that we’ll see Battlefield 2042 on PS5 and Xbox Series X, and it’s going to take full advantage of the new graphical capabilities of those consoles. DICE has long been a specialist in eking out spectacular graphical fidelity from consoles, so Battlefield 2042 is looking like an envelope-pusher on the graphics side of things, and indeed in the realm of sound design too.